A lot goes into providing senior care. Your daily checklist seems to be never-ending, but your parent or older loved one’s safety is always at the top of your list. As he or she ages, it is likely that more medications will be prescribed to treat various conditions. Practicing medication safety plays a crucial role in keeping the senior you care for safe. The Pavilion Senior Living recognizes that maintaining safety with medication can be an overwhelming task. We have gathered some useful tips for you to ensure that your loved one is taking the proper medication at the right time, in the correct amount, and never misses a dose.
Set Up a Medication Tracking System
Wondering if your parent or loved one has already taken a specific medication is scary. If they have taken it and you give it to him or her again, you could risk causing adverse effects. On the other hand, thinking that he or she has taken medication when they have not is dangerous as well.
So how do you take the guessing and questioning out? Set up a medication reminder and tracking system. Create a list of all the medications that your parent or loved one needs to take regularly. Include the frequency and the dosage of each specific medicine.
Technology can be a useful tool that will help you keep track of prescriptions. Set alarms or reminders on you or your loved one’s smartphone that will go off every time medication needs to be taken. Next, create a chart with the dates of the week. Whenever he or she takes medication, check off a box. “Filling out this chart helps both them, and you know that doses weren’t missed (DailyCaring).”
Be on the Lookout for Possible Side Effects
Unfortunately, many prescriptions have a list of possible side effects. When your loved one is prescribed a new medication or increases a dose, it is important for you to monitor him or her and make sure that these side effects do not affect them.
“Common side effects could increase fall risk, upset the stomach, cause pain or weakness, and more (DailyCaring).”
Furthermore, if your older loved one is taking multiple medications at once, it is possible that these drugs could interact negatively. Make sure your loved one’s physician is aware of everything that he or she is taking to prevent this from happening as much as possible. If, however, adverse drug interactions do occur, consult his or her doctor immediately.
Plan Ahead for Medication Refills
Picture this: you and your parent(s) are spending a quiet Friday night together, only to find out after it is too late that a prescription has run out, and there is not enough of it to last him or her through Monday.
This can and should be avoided. Set up reminders that will let you know when a medication is running low and refill it as soon as possible. If a weekend is approaching or you plan on going out of town, make sure that all prescription refills are up to date, and medication will last at least until you can get more. Ensuring the senior in your life doesn’t miss a dose is an important aspect of medication safety and senior care.
Consult a Doctor
Your loved one’s doctor plays a vital role in his or her medication safety plan and has been trained to understand how certain medications react together and what they are meant to do. This is why it is crucial that he or she is informed of everything your parent or loved one is regularly taking. This includes over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies. He or she considers this list when prescribing and introducing new drugs into your loved one’s regimen.
If you have any questions or concerns about side effects or potentially harmful drug interactions, your parent or loved one’s physician will be able to address and answer them.
Senior care is all about ensuring safety and health. The Pavilion Senior Living, with communities throughout Tennessee and West Virginia, has staff dedicated to caring for seniors.
Contact us or visit our website to find a community that shares the same compassion about caring for seniors as you.